An illustrated lexicon about the ancient myths

The iconography of classical myth - one of the most important characteristics of Greek and Roman culture and one of the important legacies handed down to posterity – is still very much alive, as numerous examples prove. The LIMC tries to present what we know of the iconography of Greek, Etruscan and Roman mythology as well as of the neighbouring Mediterranean cultures to all people interested in classical antiquity, a source of inspiration also for artists, poets, dramatists and film-makers.
Each of the illustrated figures of Greek, Etruscan and Roman mythology is discussed in alphabetic order, usually in an individual article of a uniform structure.
The publication consists of eight text and plates volumes (8400 pages of text, 32000 black-and-white photographs grouped in 5800 plates), two volumes of Indices (1026 pages) and the Supplementum 2009 which were published between 1981 and 2009 by Artemis Verlag (Zürich, München, Düsseldorf).
Volume I Aara - Aphlad (1981)
Volume II Aphrodisias - Athena (1984)
Volume III Atherion - Eros / Amor, Cupido (1986)
Volume IV Eros (in Etruria) - Herakles (1988)
Volume V Herakles - Kenchrias (1990)
Volume VI Kentauroi et Kentaurides - Oiax (1992)
Volume VII Oidipous - Theseus (1994)
Volume VIII Thespiades - Zodiacus et Supplementum (1997)
Indices (1999)
  Supplementum (2009)

The Supplementum 2009 offers additions to the published articles that either expand or change our knowledge (i.e. a new version or variation of one of the known myths; older or younger documents than those which are already known or with different origins; representations of figures in new media) or new articles about mythical figures whose representations were not known up to now. However, representations that are new but only repetitions of already well documented forms of representation are excluded from the supplement volume. This volume is completed with an Index thanks to a generous grant by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.

The regular and speedy publishing of each volume has made them an important starting point for research. In recent years several dissertations and research projects were inspired by the LIMC. A compendium like the LIMC not only enlarges our knowledge, it also poses new questions. The LIMC has also proved itself to be a very important base for research on the survival and reception of antiquity up to the present day.

An exceptional aspect of LIMC is that it covers a range of regional expressions of the same classical culture in a single publication, with examples from India to the Iberian peninsula and from all around the Mediterranean. In consequence the Foundation for the LIMC has organized several conferences dedicated to classical iconography and its development in neighbouring territories. In each case the results of these conferences have been documented in publications:
  • Kahil, L. / Augé, C. (Edd.), Mythologie gréco-romaine, mythologies périphériques. Etudes d’iconographie (Colloques internationaux du CNRS no 593, 1981);
  • Kahil, L. / Augé, C. / Linant de Bellefonds, P. (Edd.), Iconographie classique et identités régionales, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, Supplément 14 (1986);
  • Zayadine, F. (Ed.), Petra and the Caravan Cities (1990);
  • Kahil, L. / Linant de Bellefonds, P. (Edd.), Religion, mythologie, iconographie, Actes du colloque international, Rome 1989, Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome, Antiquité 103 (1991) 7-306.
The Foundation for the LIMC has also published a Festschrift in honour of its first Secretary-General, Prof. Lilly Kahil†: Agathos daimôn: Mythes et cultes. Etudes d’iconographie en l’honneur de Lilly Kahil, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, Supplément 38 (2000).

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